It’s not worth going blind over. “Mother, can I watch some TV now?” is a question parents fear nowadays. With children spending up to five hours glued to the screen for online classes, parents are in a dilemma on allowing them more screen time, wary of the long-term outcomes on their eyesight. Ophthalmologists have the same opinion that spending long hours in front of computer and tablet screens during online classes could be detrimental to eyesight in the long run. However, with the education system itself shifting to the digital mode, parents are walking an emotional tightrope now, stuck between the demands of their children and the need to take care of their well-being.
So, here we can help you in reducing your eye strain and of course of your children without compromising with their studies. You just have to go throw these apps and their descriptions are given below so that you can choose the most suitable app for your device.
This article is also for the ones who are attached to some gadget or another and also for the workaholic who has a keyboard at your fingertips 24*7 or you could be one of those smartphone users with gigs upon gigs of applications (and leaderboards to conquer).
Here is the list of some free apps you can use on your computer, tablet, and smartphone to reduce digital eye strain and hopefully improve your sleep too.
f.lux (Mac, Windows, Linux, and iPhone)
The solution to reduce eye strain is to eliminate blue light from your digital screen. Unless you purchase a physical screen or glasses, you are going to need an app like f.lux to shade it for you.
The great thing about f.lux is that you don’t have to do much in your settings. You just have to set it to Recommended Colors, type in your zip code, and it will take care of the rest. It uses your device location to determine the time of day and brightness so it can adjust the settings for you.
The app will shade your screen darker and darker as the sun sets and nears your bedtime. But don’t worry, you can still see – it’s a yellowish-orange shade. You can select your wake up time, so it’ll shade the screen appropriately so that your brain is not affected by the blue light.
When your eyes see blue light, your mind thinks it’s daytime. So using digital devices before bed can interrupt your circadian cycle and prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.
f.lux app also comes with other settings you can adjust yourself. For instance, you can choose to darken the screen earlier in the day. There are also presets you can choose based on your objectives.
For example, you can choose between any of the following to reduce eye strain:
- Reduce eyestrain.
- Classic f.lux.
- Working late.
- Far from the equator.
- Cave painting.
- Color fidelity.
Play around with the settings to see what works best for you.
Another plus point is that it automatically detects when you are using apps that require blue light, such as YouTube.
You can download this app to your PC, Mac, Linux, or iPhone. There is a preview/root-only version for Android, which is getting a lot of flack about glitches. In addition, it hasn’t been updated since 2016, so we would not suggest downloading this version.
Sometimes, knowing how much screen time you’re putting into your devices can help you change your habits to reduce eye strain. Aware is an app that keeps track of how long you’re actively using your computer.
Unlike similar apps, it’s not intrusive and does not lock you out after a particular time (or time limit). And it does not come up with an annoying alarm that can scare or interrupt others.
So how does it help you? It simply keeps track of the time you spend on your device. You can check it yourself to see if you’re over the limit you’ve set. It sits quietly in the menu bar.
Maybe it will motivate you to get off and spend time in the real world for 30 minutes or so. If this sounds good, then you can download it to your Mac computer.
ProtectYourVision (Chrome, Firefox, Safari app)
Now, if you are using a Windows computer and need something to ensure you take regular breaks, then ProtectYourVision is an optimal choice. But rather than being tied to your PC, it’s in your internet browser. It works with Chrome, Safari, and Firefox.
It comes with a default 20-20-20 plan, which you can customize to your liking. When it’s time for you to take a break, it beeps and then it blacks out your screen temporarily.
The disruption can be useful, but irritating at times. So you can choose to opt-out of the break at any time. This way, you can decide when the screen blacks out.
The app also provides eye exercises you can do while on your break. If you use a lot of Google apps, then you can learn how to enable dark mode.
Maybe you’re not that disciplined and need something that can “make” you take a break. If so, Time Out is the app for you. It’s only available for Mac users and it does an excellent job of disrupting your digital sessions.
Some people may not like this, so be sure it’s not turned on when you know you need hours of focus in one block.
So how does it operate? The answer to this question is when you activate this app- it allows you to work in blocks of 50 minutes. Then once you hit the 50-minute mark, your screen is blocked for 10 minutes. A screen shows up with the app logo and a timer countdown. These mini-breaks will help you in ensuring that your eyes get proper rest.
There’s also the option to do micro-breaks, where the screen is blocked for 10 seconds every 10 minutes. But this may be a bit much for some.
Then it gives you reminders to correct your posture and relax your muscles.
Obviously, you can disable the app at anytime (even when your screen is blocked for a time out). There is also a customization features which you can use to choose which apps halt Time Out so you can view them without interruption.
If you are an Android user, then you can download Twilight app on your device. This app is getting impressive reviews and is similar to f.lux. Its design works to keep your circadian cycle efficient and quality of sleep existent.
It uses your device location to look up sunrise and sunset times to determine when to shade your screen. Also, you can disable it whenever you are using apps like Netflix or YouTube that require good lighting to enjoy.
It comes with settings you can manipulate, such as intensity, color, temperature and screen dim. Then you have to decide when you want the filter to turn on – days, time, and custom options are available. In addition, you can create schedule profiles that automatically turn on at your specified time, such as for bedtime reading, working late, and so on.
There’s also the option to pause or stop it.
Eye Pro is a Windows application that seeks to reduce eye strain but also focuses on keeping your eyes properly moisturized. Ans if you are not satisfied with only preventing eye strain, the developers designed the app to get you to blink more while at the computer. Research also shows that our blink rate tends to drop off significantly when we use a computer. Eye Pro exhibits occasional notices encouraging you to rest your eyes and blink to restore natural moisture. There are short and long breaks, that you can skip if you need to, and plenty of tips for eye exercises and overall protection.
Protect Your Eyes While You Watch, Work & Play!
No one’s ready to go cold turkey with their digital devices or skip their online classes. So the next best thing is to find ways to reduce eye strain.
With these apps, you can ensure you’re giving your eyes the break they need while you work, watch videos, and play games.